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  • Writer's pictureBelle Kenyon

Aryamati Runner Up Spotlight: Lizzy Lister

As part of the 2021 Aryamati Poetry Prize, we have the pleasure of sharing with you poetry from each winner.

Lizzy Lister's chapbook was named 'Ladybird, Ladybird' and it was our pleasure to award her one of our runner-up awards!

The judges enjoyed this open-hearted pamphlet as it offered an interesting dynamic between the different perspectives of a collective effort to help Syrian refugees through charitable causes led by community groups. The poems also detailed the lives and journeys of selected migrants, which proved to be thought-provoking and emotive throughout.

Lizzy has selected a poem to give you a feel of her work...

Collateral Damage


Souks, weavers, cafes, schools, tanneries, hammams, carpet stalls, stables, spice markets, riads, banks, clothes lines, mosques, satellite dishes, flats, jewellers, bakeries, concert halls, railways, bus stations, hospitals. All now rubble.

The sun a prisoner behind a wall of ashes.


We were so thirsty.

Bombs destroyed our water pipes

left nothing to drink.


He was on Private Passions, the surgeon.

Said how after Aleppo he couldn’t stop crying.

He went for tea with the queen, was too shaken

to speak at all. So they broke up biscuits,

quietly fed them to the dogs.

There was a girl he said, in the hospital.

They had to empty the hospital. Bombs were coming. But there was a young girl, on the operating table, He was pulling shrapnel from her legs with a tweezer. He couldn’t leave her. But now he could,

now he was a father -

he had his own children to think about.

And what would become

of the next girl on the operating table?

And the one after that?

Lizzy Lister is a musician by trade who lives in a railway station in Cornwall. She plays in a band called Wurlitza, setting live soundtracks to silent films, and as a day job rents out eco-friendly railway carriages as holiday accommodation. Train travel, and the opportunities it offers to meet people and share stories has been a lifelong love, and experiencing the generosity of people who have very little has been humbling. Lizzy fears that sometimes wealth erodes compassion, and hopes that in some small way her writing might be able to inspire humanity and offer a different perspective than that of the often toxic mainstream media. When not writing, playing music, gardening, dancing, cycling or painting Lizzy can be found swimming in the sea.

You can find out more about the Aryamati Prize here and make sure you keep an eye out for the 2022 prize opening in Summer!

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